Appliance Repair Show Transcript - October 19, 2008

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2008 Kenmore Refrigerator Compressor Making a Knocking Sound

 

JOHN MCCULLOCH

And we'll start things off this morning with Frank, in Northville, with a refrigerator question, here on the Appliance Repair Show. Good morning Frank, go ahead please.

 

FRANK

John, I have a question on a Kenmore refrigerator. It's a fairly new unit; it's probably less than a year old. What happens is, when the compressor starts up there's a considerable amount of knocking, and I've had the folks out to look at it for warranty and they claim that it's not a problem. But I've spoken to other people, and they say that the knocking is an indication that down the road you're going to have a problem with the compressor. So I'm just wondering can you give me any advice on what I should say to the manufacturer to get them to take a second look at it.

 

JOHN SOWDEN

Did you have the manufacturer out? Well, this is Sears, so did you have Sears out to look at it?

 

FRANK

Yes, I had Sears out to look at it. It was making the noise when they were out, and basically their response was, well it doesn't sound too bad. I'll tell you, I've owned a lot of refrigerators and I'm familiar with compressors myself, and it sounds to me like a lubricant starvation issue.

 

JOHN SOWDEN

Well, there are a couple things that can cause compressor noise. If it's a knocking that's truly coming from inside the compressor then you should replace it. Other times, especially on newer units, you get a lot of pinging and other noises that are coming from the refrigerant or the refrigerant lines. A lot of it is because on the newer models they use smaller diameter tubing than they did in years past to help condense it quicker and give you a little more energy efficiency. So, it could be refrigerant noise that could be making some of the popping sounds. But if it's coming from the compressor itself, I'd just call them back and say, "Look, I have a warranty, this is bad so why don't you take care of this for me?"

 

FRANK

Just be a little bit more forceful? But in your opinion, anyway, if it is coming from the compressor, and I can isolate it to that location, then it probably is a problem with the compressor?

 

JOHN SOWDEN

Yeah, if it's something internal to the compressor. Now, there could be something in the system that's causing the problem in the compressor, meaning it's running liquid back to the compressor and that's where you're getting knocking, which would be an overcharge system or something else in the refrigerant tubing. My point is, the compressor could be working all right, but it's just getting slugged with liquid every now and then.

 

FRANK

Gotcha.

 

JOHN SOWDEN

So, there are other things that can cause that to happen as well. Anything that's under warranty, if you have an issue, I'd call and say, "I've had somebody out but I'm not satisfied with the result because I still have the noise." Obviously, once it's out of warranty, then you're going to be stuck with the seven hundred dollar repair bill.

 

FRANK

Right.

 

JOHN SOWDEN

They never quit when you're home. It's always when you're on vacation, and you come home and you find that you've got seventy degrees in the freezer!

 

FRANK

And a lot of spoiled food. Okay, well thank you very much. I appreciate your advice.

 

JOHN MCCULLOCH

And Frank, also, listen to this, because it's a question I have. John, if a new refrigerator-

 

JOHN SOWDEN

You're going to have to call in. [Laughing.] We don't let you ask questions in the studio!

 

JOHN MCCULLOCH

If you've got a new refrigerator like that that's making noise and they say it's not the compressor making the noise, it seems to me they ought to fix what the noise is, because a new refrigerator shouldn't make noise!

 

JOHN SOWDEN

Well, the worst thing as a service person is you always hear, my old one didn't do this, or it didn't sound like that, so some of it could be normal operation. Somebody that works on them every day would be able to make that call better than somebody who's had the same machine for thirty years and then puts a new one in that's doing different things. But yes, there are other things that can cause the knocking noise, again overcharge or things of that nature, and yes they could look into that. Again, without being there there's only so much we can do.

 

1996 Kenmore Top Loading Washing Machine Not Filling All the Way

 

JOHN SOWDEN

Right now we're going to go to Charlie in Dryden, Michigan.

 

JOHN MCCULLOCH

Okay, Charlie, go ahead please.

 

CHARLIE

Thanks for taking my call. I just have a couple of questions. I have a washing machine that I feel isn't filling all the way up. It's about four inches from the top. It's a Kenmore and it's about twelve years old. It just seems sometimes, when I do the wash and I put in a full load, it doesn't fill all the way up to the top. Is there a mechanical lever or electronic leveler, or what determines the height of the water?

 

JOHN SOWDEN

This is a top load washer?

 

CHARLIE

Yes, sir.

 

JOHN SOWDEN

And when you look at, normally you can see inside, if it's twelve years old, what it had been filling up to, if there's a water line. Is it filling up to that spot?

 

CHARLIE

I didn't look at it. I'll have to check that out.

 

JOHN SOWDEN

My point is it might not have changed any. It might have always been that way, you just happened to notice it now.

 

CHARLIE

Right.

 

JOHN SOWDEN

And they don't fill right to the very top. Normally, there are a couple of inches in the inner drum. But, I would look and see if that's the case. If it's now filling less than it used to, then the problem more than likely is the water pressure switch and you can adjust those.  Most of the time what happens is, they set them at the factory and then they put a dab of glue on the adjustment screw so it doesn't go out of calibration. You can try to adjust it, but a lot of times once you start monkeying around with that, what you end up with is either short filling, or the worst, overfilling. So if that is the case, I would inspect the tube that goes from the tank to the pressure switch. Make sure that it's clear; sometimes a lint restriction in that small tube can cause it to not fill properly. If all that looks good then you can replace the water level switch.

 

Should Doors Be Closed or Open When Central Air Conditioning or Heat is On?

 

CHARLIE

Okay. The next question is just a yes or no. When you run your heater or your air conditioner, the wife likes to close all the doors and says its better. For some reason she says, I want to keep the doors closed so the air conditioner works more efficiently. So I'm just curious, should all the upstairs rooms be open?

 

JOHN SOWDEN

I'm not following your question here...

 

CHARLIE

When you're air conditioner is running in the summer, my wife likes to go and close all the doors upstairs.

 

JOHN SOWDEN

Close all the doors to all the rooms?

 

CHARLIE

Yes, all the rooms upstairs.

 

JOHN SOWDEN

Okay.

 

CHARLIE

And then even in the winter, close all the doors. I'm just curious. I think the air flowing through would be better. Does it matter?

 

JOHN SOWDEN

If the house is balanced properly with the return and supply to each room, it shouldn't really make a difference.

 

CHARLIE

Our house is about one hundred years old. We have one return in the hallway. Each bedroom has two inlets.

 

JOHN SOWDEN

And the only return is in the hallway?

 

CHARLIE

Yes sir.

 

JOHN SOWDEN

Then I would probably want to leave the doors open so you're circulating that air.

 

CHARLIE

Okay!

 

JOHN SOWDEN

I don't want to start any arguments there!

 

CHARLIE

We won't blame you! Thanks, you've been a lot of help.

 

Maytag Gas Dryer, Model DG606, Not Getting Enough Heat in the Drum

 

JOHN MCCULLOCH

And here with a question on a Maytag dryer, Jim, in Clawson, here on the Appliance Repair Show. Go ahead please, Jim.

 

JIM

Yeah, hi. I have a really old Maytag gas dryer, DG606 is the model number.

 

JOHN SOWDEN

Yeah, that's an old one.

 

JIM

Yeah, real old! It stopped heating up all the way. It was working great. So, I did a couple of obvious things. I went to your website. This has a four position selector switch (part # 33302528) at the top, like regular, permanent press, damp dry, and air fluff. I replaced that selector switch. That didn't work. And then I replaced the cycling thermostat (part # Y304475), and that didn't do it either. So, I figured before I replaced every part on it, I'd call you guys.

 

JOHN SOWDEN

Now, the unit is basically not heating up to temperature, or not heating at all? Do you get any flame?

 

JIM

Oh, yeah. It gets a flame; you can see the flame. The flame kicks on and off, but it doesn't seem to stay on long enough. 

 

JOHN SOWDEN

Okay. So, you get it to cycle on and off, but you're just not getting the proper temperature in the drum?

 

JIM

Right.

 

JOHN SOWDEN

Well, the first thing you need to do is see what temperature you have. First of all, a plugged vent will cause a lot of issues. So, I'd inspect the vent going outside, make sure it's clean and as short as possible, all that good stuff. See what temperature you have. Normally on the regular setting, you'll have about one hundred and fifty degrees, and the thermostat (part # Y304475) you replaced, if it's the cycling one, should have read something in that neighborhood. If that's not the case, then what I would suggest is make sure that the blower housing (part # Y302815) is clean.

 

JIM

Okay.

 

JOHN SOWDEN

Airflow could be the biggest problem here. Also, you have a series of felt seals around the drum, the front of that drum. If those are gone, deteriorated or leaking badly, then what's happening is, you're not pulling the gas flame through that force cone and then into the drum. What happens is, the flame will get lazy and rise up and actuate the high-limit thermostat (part # Y301451) and short cycle it.

 

JIM

Oh!

 

JOHN SOWDEN

It sounds like an airflow problem, from what I would determine. Which again could be the vent, a plugged blower housing, and/or in the blower housing. You're going to have to remove that pulley (part # 300840) and slide that cover off if you have to take the spring off for the belts at the bottom there.

 

JIM

Right, I'm familiar with that, because I replaced those belts, too.

 

JOHN SOWDEN

That's a lot of fun, huh?

 

JIM

It was interesting!

 

JOHN SOWDEN

Yeah. When that spring slips it can be a real finger bender. Be careful with that.

 

JIM

Yeah, okay.

 

JOHN SOWDEN

I would start with the airflow. If it's not that, then, unfortunately, the only way to inspect the felt seal, is to pop the top off, which is two screws in the back which allows you to push the top forward a little bit and then you can at least look in there and see if those felt seals are gone or really loose. That's what it sounds like to me. If it's firing, then the gas valve assembly (part # Y302800) is probably okay, so it's just that there's not enough air being literally sucked to pull that flame into there, and it just gets lazy and causes it to short cycle.

 

JIM

I see. If the felt seals are gone, is that it? Time to get a new dryer?

 

JOHN SOWDEN

No, you can put new felt seals on. You have to glue them in place and tear the unit apart and all that good stuff. But that dryer's a tank. It will go another forty years probably.

 

JIM

That's why I don't want to get rid of it! It is, exactly just what you said, and it's a tank!

 

JOHN SOWDEN

It is. If you do have to completely tear it down, you can pull the drum out. It's just on a spindle, and as it goes through those bearings in there, there are two bearings and in the middle of that there's a felt wick. It's probably pretty dry by now. So if you do disassemble it, you can slide that out and squirt a little lubricating oil on that wick and the bearings will probably go another twenty, thirty years.

 

JIM

Sounds like I've got a project. Okay, thank you sir.

 

2003 Whirlpool Side by Side Refrigerator Water Dispenser in Door Doesn't Work but Ice Dispenser Does

 

JOHN MCCULLOCH

Here's a call from Bart in Albany, New York, about a Whirlpool refrigerator, here on the Appliance Repair Show. Good morning, Bart.

 

BART

Yes, good morning! I've got a Whirlpool refrigerator, side by side, about five years old, and the water dispenser does not dispense water.

 

JOHN SOWDEN

And the ice maker and all that are working okay?

 

BART

The ice maker is working perfectly.

 

JOHN SOWDEN

When you push your glass in to get the water, do you hear any noise? Do you hear the water valve buzzing or anything like that?

 

BART

I do not.

 

JOHN SOWDEN

Okay. The refrigerator normally has a dual valve. One side is opening and closing to feed water to the ice maker, and then the other side is opening and closing to send water through the tank and then to the glass. Now, if you hear nothing, it could be either that the solenoid on the water inlet valve has failed and it's not opening, or the components behind that lever, some have just a switch, some have a circuit board, is not sending the signal to the water inlet valve.

 

BART

Okay.

 

JOHN SOWDEN

So at this point, you need to find out if you've got an issue of bad water valve. You can check the coil on the water valve with an ohmmeter (part # DM10T) and see if the coil is open. If so, you should replace the water inlet valve. If you do hear, if you listen to it again and you hear a slight buzz and it sounds like it's trying to work, then you could have a frozen water tank inside the refrigerator section.

 

BART

I've already tried that one. That one's okay.

 

JOHN SOWDEN

Okay. If you get an ice dam or an ice buildup, you want to check your refrigerator temperatures, make sure you're not freezing that tank, and then obviously you're not going to get any water through the frozen line. But if it sounds like that's not the case, then you probably have an electrical problem. Again, there are different configurations according to what type of unit you have so I'd start with the water inlet valve, because that's one that you can easily check and see if it's getting the current or not from the main board or switch assembly. Again, they're different. If that's all right, then I'd start looking at the control circuits.

 

BART

Okay! Thank you very much.

 

1997 Kitchen Aid Top Mount Refrigerator, Model KTRS21KFAL00, Making Banging Sound When it Turns Off

 

JOHN MCCULLOCH

Here with a question on a Kitchen Aid refrigerator, Virginia, in Brighton, here on the Appliance Repair Show.

 

VIRGINIA

Hi there! I do have the model number. It's KTRS21KFAL00 and its ten and a half years old. It sounds like the compressor (part # 8201548) bangs when it turns off. It probably does that maybe eighty to ninety percent of the time. I'm not sure if it's worth having someone come out and look at it, or since its ten and a half years old, wait until it dies and then get a new one. We paid like seven hundred and forty nine for it ten and a half years ago.

 

JOHN SOWDEN

So this is a top mount 21 cubic foot refrigerator?

 

VIRGINIA

It is a 20.8 cubic foot, yes, and top freezer.

 

JOHN SOWDEN

They always round up for you. It sounds better! When the unit shuts off, it sounds like somebody's hitting the compressor with a hammer?

 

VIRGINIA

It sounds like a banging noise. I'm not an appliance person, but to me it sounds, I just for some reason think it's the compressor and my husband thinks the same thing and thinks we should have someone come out. My thinking is, if you need a new compressor, then why fix it? Is it worth it for a ten and a half year old fridge?

 

JOHN SOWDEN

From what you're describing, what normally happens is this:  the motor is mounted on a set of springs internally on the compressor (part # 8201548); if one of those springs breaks, then when the unit shuts off, rather than isolate the inner motor from the outer shell, when it shuts down it will slap the outer shell.

 

VIRGINIA

Okay.

 

JOHN SOWDEN

That's what happens.

 

VIRGINIA

So, the motor is mounted on springs inside the compressor (part # 8201548)?

 

JOHN SOWDEN

Correct but you have to replace the compressor. I guess if you were really ambitious you could cut the compressor.

 

VIRGINIA

No, this would be having someone come out and do it. My husband would not attempt it.

 

JOHN SOWDEN

Yeah. So from what you're describing, a new compressor (part # 8201548) would solve the problem. Again, the cost of the compressor installed is going to be what you probably paid for the machine ten and a half years ago.

 

VIRGINIA

Okay.

 

JOHN SOWDEN

Now, I've seen them run like this for years. The problem is, every time it slaps it's not helping the situation. Eventually, if you break a valve or another component in the compressor, then you're going to lose your cooling. Again, as I said earlier in the show, it never happens when you're home.

 

VIRGINIA

When I heard the other guy mention it, I thought I'm going to call and see. So, this thing could last for years, but it could die tomorrow?

 

JOHN SOWDEN

It could, and again, if you go away for a week, when you come home it's a mess. So if you're going to go shopping, you might want to do it now. And a new one's going to be a little more energy efficient than the one you have, so that's going to help out a little bit in terms of cost.

 

VIRGINIA

Okay. I appreciate your help.

 

1983 Hotpoint Washing Machine Making Loud Noises at Beginning of Wash Cycle

 

JOHN MCCULLOCH

We hope you're having a good Sunday morning, and we hope that Roberta in Avon, Ohio is having a good Sunday morning, here on the Appliance Repair Show. Hi Roberta, go ahead please.

 

ROBERTA

Good morning! I'm having a very good morning, how about you?

 

JOHN SOWDEN

We're doing well, thank you.

 

ROBERTA

Okay. Well, I have this Hotpoint washer and when I start it, before it goes into the wash, it fills up with the water, and then when it starts it sounds like all the gears are going to fall out.

 

JOHN SOWDEN

Is this an older machine?

 

ROBERTA

Yes, it's about twenty-five years old, but I'm eighty years old and I'm hesitating about getting a new one.

 

JOHN SOWDEN

It makes a lot of clunking noises when it goes into wash?

 

ROBERTA

Yes. And then it doesn't make another sound and it runs beautifully!

 

JOHN SOWDEN

But just on startup it makes a lot of banging and clanging?

 

ROBERTA

Yes.

 

JOHN SOWDEN

Well, there's a clutch that mounts to the top of the motor on that particular machine, and I'm assuming, after a couple of decades of service that clutch is probably worn. What you hear are the inner workings of that clutch assembly slapping when it starts up. It's probably not worth putting the clutch on, or at least having it done.

 

ROBERTA

That's what I thought.

 

JOHN SOWDEN

You can have another motor clutch assembly put in but that's going to run you a couple hundred bucks. At that point, I'd say you're probably better off spending the money towards a new one.

 

2004 Hotpoint Gas Range Surface Gets Really Hot When Oven is On

 

ROBERTA

Yeah. One more question, if I may? I have a Hotpoint GE stove and the whole thing gets hot when I put the oven on. Is that a safety condition?

 

JOHN SOWDEN

Is this gas or electric?

 

ROBERTA

Gas.

 

JOHN SOWDEN

It's gas. And the surface gets hot, or the oven?

 

ROBERTA

Well, the whole stove! Like where the heat comes out from the top, where the burners are?

 

JOHN SOWDEN

Right, that's the oven vent.

 

ROBERTA

I can't even touch anything that I have on there when the oven is on!

 

JOHN SOWDEN

Well, I'd make sure that the unit...how long have you had this stove?

 

ROBERTA

Oh, maybe four years.

 

JOHN SOWDEN

Yeah, right at the back panel is where the oven vents are. So that's not abnormal for it to get pretty hot when the oven is on, because that's where the hot air from the oven is being vented. It might just be normal operation. I'd make sure that the flame is adjusted properly so that it's burning properly.

 

ROBERTA

Oh, okay.

 

JOHN SOWDEN

But for it to get pretty warm in that area is not abnormal.

 

ROBERTA

I would think it was unsafe because I could burn my hands trying to grasp something.

 

JOHN SOWDEN

An exterior temperature, I believe, is around 160 degrees or less-that's what UL comes up with for the front door glass and things of that nature. I think it's around 150 to 160 degrees, so it can get pretty warm to the touch, but it's still enough for you to pull your hand away to not get burned. That's what they're looking for when they design it.

 

ROBERTA

Okay. Well, thank you so much.

 

Amana Bottom Mount Refrigerator Freezer Fills with Ice

 

JOHN MCCULLOCH

We'll go next to Robert, in Bowling Green Ohio, here on the Appliance Repair Show. Good morning, Robert, go ahead please.

 

ROBERT

Good morning. Thanks for talking to me. I've got an Amana refrigerator/freezer. It's a bottom freezer, and the bottom part of the shelf, the whole thing at the bottom fills up with ice.

 

JOHN SOWDEN

This is the lower part of the freezer section?

 

ROBERT

Right.

 

JOHN SOWDEN

You're getting a lot of ice in there?

 

ROBERT

You're right. Water drains into it, rather than draining out the back.

 

JOHN SOWDEN

And then it drains out the front of the door?

 

ROBERT

Right. I've been back there before and the trough is not frozen up. It's empty. I used to hear water kind of heat up and water would drip off out of the back and run down into the little tray down there.

 

JOHN SOWDEN

Right, the trough.

 

ROBERT

And I don't hear it anymore.

 

JOHN SOWDEN

Normally what you hear is the defrost cycle and the water droplets hitting the defrost heater. It sounds like a steam iron, where you're throwing water at a hot surface.

 

ROBERT

Right.

 

JOHN SOWDEN

If the unit were not defrosting, then it probably wouldn't be cooling right now.

 

ROBERT

It's working perfectly as far as the cooling, but every two or three weeks it fills up with ice at the bottom. I'm retired and I'm legally blind. I can see some things, but my daughter helps me chip it out. Then I wait for a couple more weeks and it fills up again.

 

JOHN SOWDEN

Right. Basically the trough has got a hole in it, and then it sits over another plastic spigot, then it goes down to a drain underneath. It's either that the drain from the spigot to the pan underneath is plugged. You can take a turkey baster (part # 19950151) with some hot water and flush that out.

 

ROBERT

We've done it before. One time, before it was all frozen up under there, my wife turned the freezer too far up one time and it all froze up and we had to clean everything out. Well, we got that opened up and that was working for a while there, and later on it started freezing up, the other part, but that part is open. Wouldn't there be ice filling up in the trough?

 

JOHN SOWDEN

The trough normally sits just over this plastic piece so it's either that the drain is plugged, or that trough is not aligned properly and sitting over so it drips into that hole and goes to the bottom side. If that's the case-

 

ROBERT

That's possible.

 

JOHN SOWDEN

I'd check the alignment. Clear the drain properly and see if that's aligned, see if you can get rid of your two week ritual that you've got going on here.

 

ROBERT

But that trough never fills up.

 

JOHN SOWDEN

No, it just diverts the water, it drains through a small, half inch hole and it's supposed to drip into a plastic funnel.

 

ROBERT

Like a check valve?

 

JOHN SOWDEN

Yes. I'd make sure it's really clear. At times what happens is some of the Perma-gum sealant, the Play-Doh like stuff that they seal the cabinet with, will break off and roll through the defrost water and then plug that drain up.

 

ROBERT

Okay.

 

JOHN SOWDEN

At times, you have to blow it out if a turkey baster (part # 19950151) won't do it. You'll probably want to shut it off for a day and let that all thaw out, too. That helps clear it out, in case you have ice down inside the drain.

 

ROBERT

Okay. Well...

 

JOHN SOWDEN

Wait for it to get colder out and you can set your stuff outside and do it!

 

ROBERT

It doesn't seem to be a problem with that, because wouldn't that trough fill up with ice?

 

JOHN SOWDEN

Probably not. If the drain is plugged, normally the trough sits just above it, so a lot of times it will just drip and then instead of going into the funnel underneath it will just run into the bottom.

 

ROBERT

Okay. Well, we'll have to take it apart back there and check it.

 

JOHN SOWDEN

Yeah, it's a lot of fun! You've got to take all your shelves out and all that good stuff.

 

ROBERT

Okay.

 

2005 Insinkerator 1/3 Horsepower Disposal Shaking Violently

 

JOHN MCCULLOCH

Here's Dave, in Flint, with a question on a disposer on the Appliance Repair Show. Good morning, Dave!

 

DAVE

Good morning! Hi, I have a 1/3 horse Insinkerator disposer.

 

JOHN SOWDEN

Is it a Badger? A Badger 5?

 

DAVE

I couldn't really tell you. It just says Insinkerator.

 

JOHN SOWDEN

Okay.

 

DAVE

What happens is, when I go to turn it on, with the water running through the tap, or without, either way, it's shaking violently. It even shakes my faucet and you can feel it through the counter top.

 

JOHN SOWDEN

How old is the disposal?

 

DAVE

Almost three years.

 

JOHN SOWDEN

Okay.

 

DAVE

Now, I've checked it and its good and tight in that collar that holds it up there. I've also pulled the power to it, thinking maybe there was something jammed up in the impellers, but there's nothing. It's clean inside, but it's still just shaking really violently.

 

JOHN SOWDEN

Okay. And the rubber boot looks to be all right?

 

DAVE

Yes, everything appears to be all right on the outside of the unit. I was wondering if there could be bearings that were bad inside of it.

 

JOHN SOWDEN

From what you're describing, I would say something in the turntable has. Sometimes what will happen is, one of the blades will break off and the turntable will balance, similar to having an out of balance wheel on your car, and then of course it will shake everything attached to it. Or, the bearings could be bad in the disposal itself. You can pop it out and look at the flywheel. At times, it's hard because you don't know what it's supposed to look like. You can put the model number off that unit into RepairClinic.com and if we have a picture of the turntable, you can see what it's supposed to look like new. But from what you're describing, if the mounting is okay, the boots all right, and the plumbing going to it and everything is the way it's supposed to be, then it's something internal to the disposal. It's either a bad bearing, or the turntable is bent, or a blade is missing or something to throw it off kilter and it will shake. With one of those units, you can throw a new one in for seventy bucks and away you go.

 

DAVE

Right. Okay, then. All right, I appreciate it.

 

2005 GE Side by Side Refrigerator Water Filter Exploded and Now Freezer Isn't Cooling

 

JOHN MCCULLOCH

And we'll go now to Barbara in Croswell, Michigan.

 

JOHN SOWDEN

Good morning, Barbara. What's your question?

 

BARBARA

I have a General Electric, side by side refrigerator, one of the larger units. I've had it for about three years. I opened the door one day, and the water filter, which is located in the upper right hand corner of the refrigerator, exploded.

 

JOHN SOWDEN

Exploded?

 

BARBARA

It literally burst. I had water everywhere. So, I went downstairs and turned off the water line and took the unit out, and then my freezer stopped working.

 

JOHN SOWDEN

Oh!

 

BARBARA

And that's where I'm at right now.

 

JOHN SOWDEN

Okay. So your water filter exploded! Was it the plastic or metal canister? The filter itself is what exploded?

 

BARBARA

The outside is plastic.

 

JOHN SOWDEN

Okay. Was this the original filter in the machine?

 

BARBARA

Yes.

 

JOHN SOWDEN

So, you didn't change it in three years?

 

BARBARA

No. Well, I looked it up in the guide and I realized that I should have replaced the filter. I did not, because I was not aware of it until I read about it. I should have read the guide sooner.

 

JOHN SOWDEN

Well, it's one of those things where you're not alone. Every six months to a year they recommend that you replace it, obviously, if you want it to do its job. I don't think that had anything to do with it exploding. What probably caused it to crack and break was too cold a temperature in the refrigerator section there, and that could have caused it to freeze and then, of course, split. So, the unit's dead now?

 

BARBARA

Yes.

 

JOHN SOWDEN

Does it try to do anything? You don't hear it try to do anything, just the lights work and that's it?

 

BARBARA

I just unscrewed the unit and took it out, and then shut off my water line.

 

JOHN SOWDEN

Okay.

 

BARBARA

And now my freezer doesn't work.

 

JOHN SOWDEN

Okay, so now you've lost cooling? Well, one shouldn't affect the other, so it sounds like you actually have two problems. Although, if the refrigerator was malfunctioning it could have caused the filter to freeze and crack, and now it's showing up in another way, which is now it's not cooling at all.  Do you hear any noises? Do you hear the compressor trying to start at all, like any clicking noises?

 

BARBARA

No. None at all.

 

JOHN SOWDEN

So, it's just pretty much dead.

 

BARBARA

But my refrigerator section is fine.

 

JOHN SOWDEN

But the freezer is losing temperature?

 

BARBARA

Yeah, here's a good one! I can put ice in there and it will stay frozen, but if you put meat in there it will not freeze!

 

JOHN SOWDEN

Okay. So, you don't really know what temperature you have, but you know it's lower than thirty-two.

 

BARBARA

Well, the temperature's been fluctuating from forty-six degrees to twenty-three degrees.

 

JOHN SOWDEN

Okay. Well, there are a couple of things that can cause this situation, depending on what style of unit you have.  There's a small freezer fan that is supposed to turn and move air through the freezer section, and it's possible that has failed.

 

BARBARA

That's up at the top, yes.

 

JOHN SOWDEN

And there's also a probability that you could have a defrost system failure. What's happened is, since the defrost system has failed; instead of air being pulled through the cooling coil you've got a block of ice back there. Now what you have is basically an ice box, which would give the same temperatures that you currently have.

 

BARBARA

Okay. Where would I find that?

 

JOHN SOWDEN

Well, the defrost system is basically composed of a defrost heater, a defrost thermostat, and then in your unit, more than likely if it's only three years old, it probably has a circuit board that controls that as well as a fan and everything else. So what I'd recommend is that you have somebody come out and have a look at this.

 

BARBARA

Okay. So I couldn't just open up the back end and look for the circuit board?

 

JOHN SOWDEN

You could, but you probably wouldn't know what to check and what to look for on this. There is a tech sheet on this, but given that you're losing food and the freezer isn't working well, plus the complexity of this particular machine, I'd say you're better off getting a service call on Monday morning and see what they can figure out for you.

 

BARBARA

Okay. And then, once I've put the filter back in, and then replace it every six months?

 

JOHN SOWDEN

That is correct.

 

BARBARA

Okay. Thank you very much for taking my call.

The Appliance Repair Show

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